Ursula Mayer | MONITOR

The Soul Paints Itself In Machines
09 Feb 2018 – 30 Mar 2018

Solo show by The Austrian film-maker and artist Ursula Mayer who returns to Rome for a film-screening and talk in collaboration with the critic Alessandra Mammì at the Casa del Cinema di Roma on 8 February. This event will be followed by the opening of Mayer’s solo show at Monitor on 9 February, where she will present her latest film Atom Spirit (2016), alongside a group of sculptures on view in Italy for the first time.
Ursula Mayer, who lives and works in London, has been the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Derek Jarman Award for Radical Filmmaking. She has exhibited work her work in a number of major international museums and spaces including: the Belvedere Museum, Vienna; the Institute of Contemporary Arts and Whitechapel Gallery, London; the SeMA Biennale Mediacity, Seoul; Moderna Museet, Stockholm and Moderna Museet, Malmö, Institut Kunst, Basel; Upcoming: Vleeshal, Middelburg, Home, Manchester.
Mayer’s artistic practice encompasses film, sculpture, photography and installation, to create “kaleidoscopic” spaces where multiple references converge and enduring boundaries dissolve. Her films fuse formal experimentation with myth, biopolitics and the semiotics of cinema, to visualize and ruminate upon posthuman ontology.

Ursula Mayer’s latest 16mm film ATOM SPIRIT is set in Trinidad and Tobago, a seeming paradise in which race, gender, ecology and technology meet. ATOM SPIRIT was made in collaboration with the LGBTQ community of Trinidad, as well as Ursula Mayer’s longer term collaborator, transwoman Valentijn de Hingh. The result is a twisting narrative traversing a number of science-fictional scenarios brought about by the Earth’s current sixth mass extinction.
Spanning scientific, ecological and social spaces, ATOM SPIRIT creates an interpenetrating mesh of realities where interrogations of postcolonialism, ecology and queerness can take place. The resulting futuristic landscape produces a hybridinous space in which human and non-human animals become entwined with cybernetic components, in order to question how our shared future may manifest within an increasingly damaged environment. Thus Ursula Mayer explores the potentials of a posthuman alternative world inhabited by mutant hybrids. Starting from, but ultimately unravelling an anthropocentric viewpoint, the film underscores the need to reconsider the entanglements and artificial boundaries between man and machine, nature and artifice, biology and technology.

Ursula Mayer takes a similar approach in her sculptural practice, working with opposites to create links between solid and liquid forms. From the series Robotic Cells, ‘See you in the Flesh’ 1-4 (2014), a group of sculptures evoke anatomical parts of the body, where the solidity of these bodily pieces are rendered light and sinuous through the transparency and fluidity of glass. In ‘Drawing Android 6’ (2014), the artist transforms a rigid body into a flexible one by pairing a slab of concrete with wires and cables, recalling instead the elasticity of hair.
Ursula Mayer’s work encourages the viewer to explore and transcend a number of boundaries: those of identity, the body, gender, social roles, and technology by immersing ourselves in contemporary history, probing and confronting the most pressing questions of today’s society.

MONITOR
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